The escape room trend has hit Douglas County.
The Hidden Escape opened June 10, offering two escape scenarios at its location on South Sweetwater Road in Lithia Springs.
John Turner, the owner and operator of the business, described his escape room as a chance to “unlock your inner detective and use hints and clues to solve puzzles and escape the room before your 60 minutes runs out.”
For the unfamiliar, escape rooms are a physical adventure game where players use a series of puzzles, clues and hints to escape before the clock runs out. Inspired by escape-themed video games, each room features a scenario that the players must find a way out of within a certain time frame, usually 60 minutes.
Escape rooms have become a worldwide phenomenon and are popular with church groups, as corporate team-building excursions and with family and friends looking for something to do during a night out.
There are at least seven escape rooms operating in metro Atlanta, but The Hidden Escape is the first in Douglas County.
The Hidden Escape currently features two themes. The first is titled “Orion,” and involves the story of an astronomer and treasure hunter who is looking for an apprentice to share his tricks of the trade with. Players become the astronomer’s newest recruits and must provide their worth by escaping his office in under an hour.
The second is titled “Year of the Roommate,” where players take on the role of a freshman at George Washington University. The players quickly realize their new roommate is a little sketchy, however, and once he leaves for a class they have to figure out exactly what it is he’s up to.
Turner, a Lithia Springs resident and regional manager at AccuQuest Hearing Centers, was inspired to start his own escape room after visiting one in downtown Atlanta with his wife, Tessa.
“We were just blown away,” said Turner. “It’s like an indoor scavenger hunt on steroids.”
The pair visited another escape room the following weekend, and not long afterward they were discussing how they could open their own location. Noticing there were no such businesses in their home county made it a no-brainer to open close to home, and since escape rooms operate mostly at night and on the weekend it would not interfere much with Turner’s day job.
“We thought maybe there’s an opportunity here,” he said. Construction began in February and the center opened last month.
The concepts for the two rooms were culled from online sources, though Turner added a few of his own touches as well. He hopes to add at least one more theme to the lineup if all goes well.
Communication is key between members of the group if they want to make it out ahead of the time limit.
“You have to talk about things and share with each other what you find,” Turner said. “You never know what someone else is looking at. It also incorporates different personalities and ways of thinking. Some people are more logical, while others are better at observation, and some are creative.”